The Marriage of Figaro

Date 16th March 2018
Society Opera Worcester
Venue Swan Theatre Worcester
Type of Production Opera
Director Andrew Rawle
Musical Director Sue Black

Report

Author: Bruce Wyatt

Although first performed in 1786, Mozart’s Opera ‘The Marriage of Figaro’ contains a number of familiar modern day scenarios of trickery and sexual misconduct and not without humour.  Andrew Rawle rightly perpetuated the opportunity to present the production in a different way, this time at Christmas during the Edwardian era, in addition to administering some significant cuts to the potential running time. 

Set in a country palace in Spain, central to the plot is Count Almaviva (Tim Johnson) and his wife Countess Almaviva (Patricia Head) and whilst their passion for each other has faded, the Count spends his days pestering the serving girls and even the bride to be ‘Susanna’ (Claire Johnson), of his Chauffeur ‘Figaro’ (Aaron Prewer-Jenkinson). Tim Johnson  excelled in all aspects; singing with power and clarity and with great humour. Patricia Head and Claire Johnson acted and sang beautifully and Prewer-Jenkinson brought great support and characterisation to ‘Figaro’ himself, as all three schemed against the Count’s plans.

All other principals added great depth, including the experience of Sue Lupton (‘Cherubino’) Caroline Causier (‘Marcellina’), Paul Ellis (‘Don Bartolo’) and John Clay (‘Antonio’) and it was particularly encouraging to see the on board development of some younger members; Laurie Standish Hayes (‘Don Curzio’), Sophie Hutton (‘Barbarina / Young Girl 1’), Michael Burgess (‘Don Basilio’) and Amy Heptinstall (Young Girl 2) who all equipped themselves well.

Whilst clarity of diction varied, there is no doubt that this was a very demanding musical challenge for Opera Worcester which continues to maintain its deserved reputation for adding breadth to the local music scene.

The ensemble were clearly well rehearsed and provided a disciplined and poised presence throughout, all supported by an excellent orchestra under the direction of Sue Black.

The set and costumes sparkled and this well staged production matched with some powerful performances, fully justified the ambitious step forward in the history of the society.